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Basic human rights are inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, or other factors. Human rights include right to life-liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, and many more (United Nations, 2022a). This includes right to food, under the right of social service. The right of social service is that everyone has a right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of oneself and ones family, including food, clothing, housing, and medical care, necessary social services, right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond one’s control. This is applicable to both children and adults (United Nations General Assembly, 2022). Under these guidelines, these human rights are inalienable and should not be taken away except in specific situations. These include being found guilt of a crime by a court of law (Office of the High Commissioner, 2022).
Despite these national standards, extreme poverty is still a significant issue worldwide. Extreme poverty is measured as people living on less than 1.90 USD per day (United Nations General Assembly, 2022). In 2015, it was estimated that more than 736 million people lived below the international poverty line. Of these, around 10 percent of the world populations were living in extreme poverty. It is estimated that the covID-19 pandemic have increased both populations even more – approximately increased by half a billion people, or an additional 8% of total human populations (United Nations, 2022b).
When a person in unable to secure food for themselves and their household, it impacts multiple aspects of their life. This includes things like inability to secure work, not being able to graduate school, unable to get married or pursue a family unit. Furthermore, when government and corporate practices systematically deprive people of these basic resources, poverty becomes entrenched and economic inequality is reinforced. Governments around the world carry significant responsibility to support its people in these basic human rights. When policies benefit the wealthy at the expense of the poor, it results in people living in destitution. One example if the Unites States’ cost of healthcare. Because of the significant price tag, it prevents certain people from accessing care. Furthermore, poverty in the United States has a direct correlation with race (Breaking the Poverty Trap, 2022).
Most governments do not have social systems in place to prevent this disadvantage, despite access to social service being a basic human right. Governments can and should turn this around for their people. The first critical step is to develop a legal framework that protects human basic rights. Such laws would include things like increasing minimum wage to a living wage. Second, laws and regulations must be developed and implemented to protect against labor abuse. Third, governments should invest in their people, including spending money on social programs that support healthcare, education, job training, and access to credit. Lastly, it is vital for the government to include the voices of the people they serve to eliminate self-interested powers that seek to benefit themselves. For countries whose governments don’t have the fund to take these steps to ensure basic human rights are accomplished, it is recommended that a serious look at spending and corrupt leaders occur. It is not expense to take minor steps to support this bare minimum human right. Furthermore, governments can look at progressive tax policies, that provide relief of taxes for those of lower incomes to ease the burden on the poor (Breaking the Poverty Trap, 2022).
Breaking the Poverty Trap. (2022, January 27). Why poverty and inequality are human rights issues. Human Rights Watch. https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/10/14/breaking-poverty-trap
Office of the High Commissioner . (2022). What are human rights? OHCHR. https://www.ohchr.org/en/what-are-human-rights
Office of the High Commissioner. (2021, February 26). OHCHR and the Human Rights Dimension of Poverty. OHCHR. https://www.ohchr.org/en/poverty
United Nations General Assembly. (2022). 30 basic human rights list | universal declaration of human rights. Universal Declaration of Human Rights. https://opseu.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/30_basic_human_rights_list_english.pdf
United Nations. (2022). Ending poverty. United Nations. https://www.un.org/en/global-issues/ending-poverty
United Nations. (2022). Human rights. United Nations. https://www.un.org/en/global-issues/human-rights#:~:text=Human%20rights%20include%20the%20right,to%20these%20rights%2C%20without%20discrimination.